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  • Title: The History of Sir John Oldcastle (Folio 3, 1664)
  • Editor: Michael Best

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Authors: Anonymous, Michael Drayton, Richard Hathway, Antony Munday, William Shakespeare, Robert Wilson
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The History of Sir John Oldcastle (Folio 3, 1664)

    The History of Sir John Oldcastle,
    Pri. Stand Thief too.
    Kin. Then thief or true-man, I must stand I see,
    howsoever the world wags, the trade of thieving yet will
    1400never down. What art thou?
    Pri. A good fellow.
    Kin. So I am too, I see thou dost know me.
    Pri. If thou be a good fellow, play the good fellowes
    part, deliver thy purse without more adoe.
    1405King. I have no money.
    Pri. I must make you finde some before we part, if
    you have no money you shall have ware, as many sound
    blowes as your skin can carry.
    Kin. Is that the plain truth?
    1410Pri.Sirrha, no more adoe; come, come, give me the
    money you have. Dispatch, I cannot stand all day.
    Kin. Well, if thou wilt needs have it, there it is: just
    the Proverbe, one thief robs another. Where the Devil
    are all my old thieves? Falstaffe that villain is so fat, he
    1415cannot get on's Horse, but me thinks Poynes and Peto
    should be stirring hereabouts.
    Pri. How much is there on't of thy word?
    Kin. A hundred pound in Angels, on my word.
    The time has been I would have done as much
    1420For thee, if thou hadst past this way, as I have now.
    Pri. Sirrha, what art thou? thou seem'st a Gentleman?
    Kin. I am no lesse, yet a poor one now, for thou hast
    all my money.
    Pri. From whence cam'st thou?
    1425Kin. From the Court at Eltham.
    Pri. Art thou one of the King's Servants?
    Kin. Yes that I am, and one of his Chamber.
    Pri. I am glad th'art no worse: thou may'st the better
    spare thy money, and think thou might'st get a poor
    1430Thief his pardon if he should have need.
    Kin. Yes that I can.
    Pri. Wilt thou doe so much for me, when I shall have
    Kin. Yes faith will I, so it be for no murther.
    1435Pri.Nay, I am a pittifull thief, all the hurt I do a man,
    I take but his purse, I'le kill no man.
    Kin. Then of my word I'le do't.
    Pri. Give me thy hand of the same.
    Kin. There 'tis.
    1440Pri. Me thinks the King should be good to Thieves,
    because he has bin a thief himself, although I think now
    he be turned a true-man.
    Kin. Faith I have heard indeed h'as had an ill name
    that way in's youth: but how canst thou tell that he has
    1445been a thief?
    Pri. How? because he once robb'd me before I fell to
    the trade my self, when that foul villanous guts, that led
    him to all that Roguery, was in's company there, that
    1450King aside.Well, if he did rob thee then, thou art but
    even with him now I'le be sworn: Thou knowest not the
    King now I think, if thou sawest him?
    Pri. Not I, ifaith.
    King aside. So it should seem.
    1455Pri. Well, if old King Harry had liv'd, this King
    that is now, had made thieving the best trade in England.
    King. Why so?
    Pri. Because he was the chief Warden of our Com-
    pany, it's pitty that e're he should have been a King, he
    1460was so brave a thief. But sirrha, wilt remember my par-
    don if need be?
    King. Yes faith will I.
    Pri. Wilt thou? well then, because thou shalt go safe,
    for thou may'st hap (being so early) be met with again,
    1465before thou come to Southwarke, if any man when he
    should bid thee good morrow, bid the stand, say thou but
    sir John, and they will let thee passe.
    King. Is that the word? then let me alone.
    Pri. Nay sirrha, because I think indeed I shall have
    1470some occasion to use thee, and as thou comm'st oft this
    way, I may light on thee another time not knowing thee,
    here I'le break this Angel, take thou half of it, this is a to-
    ken betwixt thee and me.
    King. God a mercy: farewell.
    1475Pri. O my fine golden slaves, here's for thee, wench,
    ifaith. Now, Doll, we will revell in our Bever, this is a
    Tythe Pig of my Vicarage. God a mercy, neighbour
    Shooters-hill, you ha paid your Tythe honestly. Well, I
    hear there is a company of Rebels up against the King,
    1480got together in Ficket-field near Holborn, and as it is
    thought, here in Kent, the King will be there to night
    in's own person: well, I'le to the Kings Camp, and it
    shall go hard, if there be any doings but I'le make some
    good boot among them.
    Enter King Henry, Suffolk, Huntington, and
    two with Lights.
    King.My Lords of Suffolk and of Huntington,
    Who scouts it now? or who stands sentinels?
    What men of worth? what Lords do walk the round?
    1490Suf. May't please your Highnesse.
    King. Peace, no more of that,
    The King's asleep, wake not his Majesty,
    With termes nor Titles; he's at rest in bed,
    Kings do not use to watch themselves, they sleep,
    1495And let rebellion and conspiracy
    Revel and havock in the Commonwealth.
    Is London look'd unto?
    Hun. It is, my Lord:
    Your noble Unckle Exeter is there.
    1500Your Brother Glocester, and my Lord of Warwick,
    Who with the Mayor and the Aldermen
    Do guard the Gates, and keep good rule within.
    The Earl of Cambridge, and sir Thomas Gray
    Do walk the round, Lord Scroop and Butler scout,
    1505So though it please your Majesty to jest,
    Were you in bed, well might you take your rest.
    King. I thank ye Lords: but you do know of old,
    That I have been a perfect night-walker:
    London, you say, is safely lookt unto,
    1510Alass, poor Rebels, there your aid must fail,
    And the Lord Cobham Sir John Oldcastle,
    Quiet in Kent, Acton, ye are deceiv'd:
    Reckon again, you count without your Hoste.
    To morrow you shall give account to us,
    1515Till when, my friends, this long cold winters night
    How can we spend? King Harry is asleep,
    And all his Lords, these garments tell us so:
    All friends at Foot-ball, fellowes all in field,
    Harry, and Dick, and George, bring us a Drumme,
    1520Give us square Dice, we'll keep this Court of Guard,
    For all good fellowes companies that come.
    Where's that mad Priest ye told me was in Armes
    To fight, as well as pray, if need required.
    Suf. He's in the Camp, and if he knew of this,
    1525I undertake he would not be long hence.
    King. Trip Dick, trip George.
    Hun. I must have the Dice: what doe we play at?
    Suf. Passage if ye please.